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Enhancements Made to Google Local (Beta)

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Google is enhancing Google Local today with three new features.

Here's what you'll find:

Google Maps are now available on Google Local on both the U.S. and Canadian sites. Before today, Google was using maps provided by a third party on Google Local.

The next two features should remind you of what you've seen with product reviews on Froogle and Google's recently released movie info and review service.

After finding the desired entry on a Google Local results page and clicking, you'll now see a page with a variety of information about the business that Google has been compiled from various open web sites.

Here's an example:

Let's say you're searching for restaurants located in the Zip Code 60611 (Chicago). The first entry is for Eli's the Place for Steak on Chicago Avenue.

When you click on the listing link, you'll now find a page with additional information (links to menus, hours of operation, payment info, etc.) automatically extracted from open web sources like Amazon.com, CitySearch.com, and Frommers.

Below this info, you'll find reviews of the Eli's extracted from various web sites. Review are automaticallt analyzed. If it's a positive review, you'll see a green block next to the summary. If it's a negative review, you'll see a red one.

At the bottom of most pages you'll find "reference" links about the business from Google's web index.

Of course, not every listing in Google Local will have additional info and reviews. For example, this listing for a Radio Shack store in Chicago only contains reference links about the store.

Btw, I ran a variety of searches on Google Local Canada looking for review/info pages was unable to find any.


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